Spotlight on a Student: Davy Brouzet

Investigation of combustion noise in turbulent premixed flames using direct numerical simulations


Davy Brouzet has just finished his PhD in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Melbourne, handing in his thesis in late October. His research used high-fidelity numerical simulations to explore the sound generated by turbulent premixed flames. He is now hoping to conduct aero-acoustics, turbulence or combustion research with an industry-oriented mindset.

What is your research about?

During my PhD, I studied the sound generated by turbulent premixed flames, using high-fidelity numerical simulations.

The flames I studied are typically found in gas turbines used for power generation, which play an increasingly important role in meeting our energy demand, particularly in the electricity market. Due to their fast start ability, open cycle gas turbines can compensate for the intermittency of renewable sources, such as solar and wind energy, providing a high level of security to the grid. Gas turbines are therefore expected to play a supporting role in the decarbonization of the electricity market.

But these gas turbines still release a significant amount of greenhouse gases and other pollutants. In order to meet the increasingly stringent emission standards, gas turbines are therefore required to become more efficient and produce ultra-low levels of emission. Lean combustion is particularly interesting because it improves the overall fuel efficiency and decreases nitrogen oxides emissions in modern gas turbines. However, the combustors operating under lean conditions are susceptible to so-called `thermoacoustic instability'. A resonance coupling between the combustion process and the unsteady flow initiates an unstable behaviour, characterized by self-sustaining pressure oscillations, and which can result in the combustor failure in extreme cases.

The sound generated by the flame plays a key role in the triggering and dynamics of thermoacoustic instability. Achieving a better understanding of sound generation by turbulent premixed flames is then crucial for designing safer and low-pollutant gas turbines.

Who are your supervisors?

I was privileged to work with Dr. Mohsen Talei, Senior Lecturer in the Mechanical Engineering Department and Prof. Michael Brear, Professor of Engineering and Director of the Melbourne Energy Institute.

What do you want to do next?

I am currently working on a short-term project investigating the technical issues and financial viability of the use of biogas for transport in Australia. I am also looking for academic opportunities to pursue aero-acoustics, turbulence and/or combustion research. Conducting fundamental research with an industry-oriented mindset is something that I’m eager to engage more in.


I received the 2014 EPFL Youth Prize for my Master studies. I was also recipient of a Melbourne International Research Scholarship and a Melbourne International Fee Remission Scholarship in 2015. The Melbourne Abroad Traveling Scholarships (MATS) gave me the opportunity to present my research to the 2018 Australasian Fluid Mechanics Conference in Adelaide.

Davy and his supervisors welcome any enquiries about his research. You can email him at:

Davy will be speaking at the upcoming MEI Symposium on 13 December, which showcases the University of Melbourne’s multi-disciplinary energy research. Read the full program of the symposium and register to attend.

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Ruby Brown

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